Local Landowner Combating Climate Change
By Art Hunter – CACOR member
The Ontario Government has a program thru 2025 called “50 Million Tree Program” managed by Forests Ontario to assist Ontario landowners become involved in:
- Extracting carbon from the atmosphere to combat climate change
- Diversify Ontario forests
Details are described at Ontario Newsroom
“Our government is committed to increasing our knowledge of how natural systems can store greenhouse gases, and investing in successful tree planting to create more forests near our cities, parks and communities across Ontario. Forests are critical to reducing carbon in the atmosphere, and these projects are a key part of our fight against climate change.”
Kathryn McGarry Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
This program was initiated to be compliant with the 2006 United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). This initiative was a response to global warming. It has been exceptionally successful with over 14.2 billion trees planted up to 2016. The UN program has been joined by many other organizations in 193 countries including the World Organization of Scouts and UN Peacekeeping missions.
The top 10 countries have been reported as:
- China 2.8 billion
- India 2.1 billion
- Ethiopia 1.6 billion
- Pakistan(KPK) 1 billion- Known as Billion Tree Tsunami
- Mexico 785 million
- Turkey 716 million
- Nigeria 612 million
- Kenya 455 million
- Peru 247 million
- Myanmar 191 million
- Cuba 137 million
“Looking back over the Billion Tree Campaign’s greatest successes, what is most remarkable is not its scale, but its spread. People from all around the world have enthusiastically joined the campaign and planted trees in their own communities.” – Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director.
In the Ottawa area Forests Ontario are leveraging their financial contribution with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation and the landowner.
A participating local landowner was approved for planting of 3,000 trees under this initiative at an estimated value and contribution spread of:
The land and some specifics of the agreement are shown in the following graphic.
A planting plan was developed and approved by the landowner which states:
- Site preparations – the planting compartments need to be mowed in September 2017. (landowner)
- Scribe and Band Spray – the planting areas will be scribe and sprayed this fall by our contractor. This operation will leave the site fully prepared for hand planting in the spring. The vegetation will already be controlled in the first growing season.
- Invoicing and Agreements – we will send out the planting agreement in January 2018.
- Hand Planting – RVCA will coordinate and supervise the hand planting contractors in the spring of 2018. The trees need to be planted as soon as the ground has thawed for best survival rates and growth.
- Survival Assessments – RVCA Forestry Staff will complete survival assessments in the fall of 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022. These assessments help us indicate the success of the project, and whether there is any follow-up work required. This would include any refill planting to increase tree stocking numbers or any follow-up tending to continue to control the competing vegetation.
Individual trees are not forever storage of carbon as eventually they die and return carbon to the soil and the atmosphere. “Red pine is a long-lived species, providing opportunities to grow stands for 200 years and individual trees to even greater ages.”
However one has to consider the carbon storage over the longer term for the entire forest. Researchers have considered a mature forest to reach Carbon Dioxide stability with the environment after 400 years and if left to natural cycles can be very long term carbon storage. There are many links addressing this with https://www.pinterest.com/pin/85709199134169595/ being a good example of a mature forests and trees.
This Ontario government program must be encouraged and given wide publicity in an effort to try to bring back 400 year forests. Converting an unused field back into a forest with the dream of establishing a 400 year old forest is a noble objective.
Planting trees is certainly not a random process as trees must be native to the area, soil conditions suitable, disease susceptibility considered, particulate matter added to the local air, suitable species selection based on urban or rural setting as well as other considerations by a qualified forester. With the Ontario “50 Million Tree Program” this level of expertise is provided free to the landowner.
What can you do to make sure none of the program’s allocated funds are retired unused?